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Bill Aims to Make Minnesota Fish Safe to Eat

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 By Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Contact
May 21, 2007

While state legislators and the governor have their differences over how best to budget, they have agreed on a measure to reduce the use of toxic mercury in everyday products. Carin Skoog is with the Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, which supported the bill.

“The legislation bans the use and sale of a number of mercury-containing devices, such as blood-pressure thermostats and some cosmetics. It also eliminates the use of mercury in schools. And, it expands the existing labeling and recycling requirements for mercury-containing products, such as florescent lamps.”

She believes it's a good deal for the environment, and for people who like to fish. Currently, the state Health Department recommends limited fish consumption because of mercury, especially for pregnant women and children.

Skoog notes that one goal is to make fish in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" safe to eat.

“Mercury is a neurotoxin, and Minnesota has advisories out for every single waterway, river and lake in our state. It can cause serious developmental effects in fetuses and children. So, women who are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, really need to be careful about their consumption of fish that would be tainted with mercury.”

The new legislation follows a bill approved last year to limit mercury emissions from coal plants, and is another step in the effort to protect public health.

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